My first stop en route to Vienna was an extended layover in Toronto. On my last trip through the international terminal, I visited the underwhelming Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 3. This time, I visited the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto in Terminal 1. Unfortunately, saver mileage tickets don’t receive access to the Signature Suite. I found this lounge alright, though a bit crowded (perhaps a preview of the state of lounges these days).
Note: this post is part of my trip report series covering my visit to Austria in May, 2022. Click here for the trip report index and introductory post.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto (International)
In the international gates area of Terminal 1. After passing through security and passport control, take a right at the bottom of the stairs.
Air Canada provides numerous ways to access Maple Leaf lounges:
- Business Class passengers (note that customers on cash tickets or Aeroplan flex rewards can use the Signature Suite instead)
- Altitude Super Elite and Aeroplan 35k, 50k, and 75k members (traveling on AC or Star Alliance carriers, plus spouse, up to 5 dependents, and one guest)
- Star Alliance Gold members (traveling on AC or Star Alliance carriers)
- Certain Aeroplan premium credit card holders (plus one guest)
- Customers traveling in Premium Economy or on Latitude, Comfort, or Flex fares in Economy can purchase access for CAD 49-79 (must purchase in advance)
- Passengers may bring additional guests for CAD 59
Hours of operation are 4:15 am to 10:45 pm daily. At present, Air Canada limits access to three hours prior scheduled departure. However, this rule does not apply to connective itineraries or to delayed flights.
Date of visit: May 5, 2022
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto (International) Review
Upon entering, you’re greeted by the familiar scale model of the Air Canada Dreamliner found in other Maple Leaf Lounges. This never gets old, no matter where I see it…
Anyway, with that out of the way, the lounge itself features a large seating area wrapping around a dining area. Heading up the stairs, immediately behind the entrance is a section with some circular booths and lounge chairs along the wall. While relatively uncrowded, this area suffers from a distinct lack of power ports.
This opens up to a larger seating area. Larger, yes, but quite crowded on a mid-afternoon on a Friday.
There are a couple of semi-enclosed seating areas available (to the right in the below photo, though occupied at the time).
In the center of the lounge is a small open TV viewing area. To be honest, I never got these types of arrangements. It’s not like you can really concentrate on what’s on with all the noise around you.
I headed towards the back, and found a seat in a group of red high-backed chairs in groups of six. These seats do have ready access to power ports, and still had a handful of open seats.
Behind the high-top tables is a self-service beverage area, which made this area pretty popular.
The aforementioned beverage area features a soda fountain, beer tap, and Lavazza machine. At the time of this visit, the self-serve liquor bottles had been removed. As you can see, the soda fountain and beer tap were also shut off. If you wanted any of those items, it necessitated a visit to the dining area to get one from the attendant. However, more recent reports indicate the full selection is back.
This section also has some circular green lounge chairs to relax in.
Also back in this area is a small business center with a printer/copier. Previously, there was also a communal phone charging station here like in other Maple Leaf Lounges. However, it looks like Air Canada removed it, perhaps a casualty of the pandemic. This leads to another area of seating to the left.
Tucked away in another corner are the shower rooms. These remain locked by default, so you do need to ask the front desk for a key.
Unfortunately, while some of the seating towards the back nominally faces the ramp area, views are significantly constricted due to the window blinds. Too bad, because the ramp traffic at YYZ is quite nice. At least the windows do let in a good amount of natural light into the lounge.
This is actually a split-level lounge, so you have to head back down a level to reach the dining area.
To the left of the ramp is the main dining area, with several two-person tables both in the center and along the wall. I actually found this seating area less congested than the main lounge area, but the lack of power ports is problematic.
To the left is an overflow dining area, completely empty on this afternoon. (At the end of the hall, turn left for the reception desk, or right for the seating area.)
At the time of my visit, the dining area itself only offered some basic salty snacks, along with an attendant to provide beverages.
So how could you obtain food if feeling peckish? Air Canada rolled out an on-demand ordering system via QR code. The menu included a small selection of small meals, along with a mystery desert of the day.
After ordering, a waiter brought your selection directly to your seat. Admittedly, the presentation left much to be desired. Just a box with some code lettering noting the dish ordered…
I ordered the Montreal smoked meat sandwich. Never had one of these before, but based on some research, it looks like a reasonable facsimile of the original. It’s a sandwich of smoked brisket on rye bread with mustard. I found it reasonably tasty, though a small portion. (Of course, you can order as many as you want.)
Reports indicate that Air Canada has since brought back the buffets and discontinued the “@ la table” QR service. However, I can’t definitely confirm this one way or another. If anyone knows for certain, feel free to leave a note in the comments.
Anyway, if you continue past the dining area, there’s a quiet area in the back. There’s also some marginally better ramp views from back there, but the window shades still significantly restrict the view out.
Other reviews discuss a “private room” with restricted access. I couldn’t find it on my visit; I’m not sure if it no longer exists, or I just missed seeing it.
WiFi is free and pretty fast. I found the connection stable enough to both make a FaceTime call, and connect to all my work applications.
I agree with Live and Let’s Fly’s evaluation of the lounge as “solidly average”. There’s a variety of seating, decent WiFi, and at the time, decent food. Though I wonder how that’s changed with the switch back from a la carte options to the buffet. Also, given the level of crowding a year and a half ago, I wonder how bad it is now. Certainly, if your ticket includes access to the Signature Suite, don’t pass that up for this lounge. But it’s an OK spot to spend an hour or two before your long-haul flight. It covers the basics decently, though does nothing exceptionally.